Merton backs 2M new rail plan for Heathrow

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

London Borough of Merton
29 January 2009

Merton backs 2M new rail plan for Heathrow

Merton Council announced its support today for the new rail plan for Heathrow proposed by action group 2M.

The 2M Group, of which Merton is a member, launched its new £1.5 billion rail plan Getting to Heathrow this morning (29 January), the day after the Commons debate about Heathrow expansion.

As part of its support for alternatives to a third runway, the group wants to see investment in the UK rail network to connect 150 stations within a 25-mile radius of the airport with up to 40 trains an hour. Such a move would mean a train for every plane, and take a million cars off the road every year.

The plans show how the airport could become a rail hub serving London and the southeast. The new local network would connect up to mainline services and a London to Scotland high-speed rail line from Euston. This new so-called compass point network could be built at a third of the cost of the Heathrow Hub scheme favoured by government ministers and would provide significantly greater benefits for local people.

Merton Council cabinet member for the environment Councillor David Simpson said: “A third runway and the increased volume of traffic that would result from any expansion of Heathrow would have a major impact on the environment. CO2 emissions would rise dramatically and people living in parts of the borough would be adversely affected by the increased air traffic passing over their houses. As a member of the 2M Group and in the interests of Merton residents and the environment we fully back the group’s proposals.”

-ENDS-

Notes to editors
1. The 2M Group is an all-party alliance of local authorities concerned about the environmental impact of Heathrow expansion on their communities. The group, which took its name from the two million residents of the original 12 members, now represents 22 authorities with a combined population of around five million people and is supported by the Mayor of London. More information: http://www.2Mgroup.org.uk
2. BAA figures show that, even without a third runway, passenger numbers at the airport would grow by a third by 2030.
3. Merton council passed a motion in November opposing a third runway at Heathrow.